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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 44. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 276 -- Spending Cuts. »

The Fifth Mainstream Melee.


It's a non-blog adventure.


OpinionJournal.com: "Ports of Politics: How to sound like a hawk without being one. "

Super Succinct Synopsis-

The demagoguery over the UAE port deal is a perfect chance for Democrats to score cheap political points.

Super Succinct Snippet-

...the notion that the Bush Administration is farming out port "security" to hostile Arab nations is alarmist nonsense. Dubai Ports World would be managing the commercial activities of these U.S. ports, not securing them. There's a difference....

As for the Democrats, we suppose this is a two-fer: They have a rare opportunity to get to the right of the GOP on national security, and they can play to their union, anti-foreign investment base as well.

This whole thing started as a ridiculous union/Lou Dobbs type of story, a total non-issue that a few people got riled up about. Once Bill Frist and other Republicans sided with the faux-populist idiot brigades, it gave the Bush-hating media a chance to pounce. Unfortunately, the Bush administration, believing correctly that this is a complete non-issue, didn't realize how irrational and zany this story would become and thus failed to develop a rapid-response communications strategy to explain why there is no downside to this deal at all.

This deal is not even newsworthy. The fact that it could become such an issue is almost enough to make one become cynical about politics.




Washington Examiner: "Bashing Wal-Mart: No One Gains"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Wal-Mart may not be perfect or even good, but the orchestrated campaign against them is more left-wing nonsense than genuine economic concern.

Super Succinct Snippet-

New Labor Department data show that from 1987 to 2004, labor productivity rose an astonishing 7.6 percent a year in the part of retail trade in which Wal-Mart operates, well over double the increase in the economy as a whole. One of the leaders of the anti-Wal-Mart legislation, the UFCW union, represents workers primarily in a sector of retail trade, grocery stores, which had only a miniscule (0.2 percent) annual productivity advance. Thus this effort might be viewed as an attempt by persons in a stagnant and declining sector of retailing to thwart their more efficient and successful competition.

The "Wal-Mart is evil" notion is the reason why the Dubai/UAE port brouhaha even became a brouhaha in the first place. Unfortunately, and unlike with Wal-Mart, it spread to the mainstream largely due to misformation and disinformation.



Forbes: "Gutierrez: Pirated Software 'Unacceptable' "

Super Succinct Synopsis-

China, you better shape up. These winds of economic nationalism that are blowing in this country may lead to a political situation where this administration, or a future administration, must take actions against your comfortable little set-up you've got right now.

Super Succinct Snippet-

The administration is not satisfied with China's progress in cracking down on rampant piracy of American copyrighted material, and one of the biggest offenders is the Chinese government, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Seriously, China. Police yourself, because your flaunting of the rules of global capitalism will be a lot worse than you realize.



The Weekly Standard: "Revenge of the Panda Hugger: The Bush administration's China policy is hardening. "

Super Succinct Synopsis-

No, really. Don't make us pull this car over.

Super Succinct Snippet-

Fifteen months ago, just two days before George W. Bush's reelection, the Chinese government's English-language mouthpiece, China Daily, reprinted a blast by senior diplomat Qian Qichen against a "Bush Doctrine" marked by "cocksuredness and arrogance." President Bush no doubt believed, in the last days of an extremely tight race, that Qian's comments were an attempt to influence the result of the election, or at the very least an attempt to ingratiate Beijing with John Kerry, then slightly ahead in the polls. Upon his reelection, President Bush was apparently not amused.

Since then, his China policy has evolved away from its once-cautious optimism that Beijing might possibly, somehow, be persuaded to join Washington in maintaining a rules-based world order on such issues as nonproliferation, trade, human rights, energy, environment, and health policies. The official U.S. agnosticism about where China's rise will take it--and the world--seems to be ebbing. Instead, the administration seems ready to conclude that China is not going in the right direction and that the United States must hedge its bets.

China, we've given you plenty of chances, plenty of subtle warnings, and plenty of forgiveness for wrongdoing. Now it's time to straighten up. Americans obviously wouldn't mind sticking it to you, economically. Just don't force us to do so.



The Economist: "Japan, land of the rising indicators"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Remember when it was popular to buy American to stick it to the Japanese? Remember when everyone worried so much about Japan taking our jobs and ruining our economy and so on? Well, after 15 years of weakness in the Japanese economy, the signs are finally pointed in the right direction. Let's celebrate, because we need an economically strong Japan.

Super Succinct Snippet-

...at long last, those Japan-watchers are starting to believe that the country may have turned the corner on its long stagnation.

Root for Japan's economic reforms, spearheaded by Bush buddy Junichiro Koizumi, to succeed. A strong Japan is good for the United States, economically, as well as geopolitically.


The previous Mainstream Melee.

WILLisms.com and many other blogs sometimes focus too much on our fellow bloggers, while excluding well-done professional journalism from our posts.

The Mainstream Melee is a quick survey of five non-blog sources, coming atchya at completely random intervals. The stories are either underreported, particularly well-written, interesting, or otherwise important to the big picture. But generally there will be a theme of some kind in the choices.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 February 2006 03:10 PM


Absolutely excellent post, Will. It is purely through productivity gains that our standard of living continues to increase. While stagnating the speed of change is typically in the best interest of a relative few union workers, it eventually leads to the erosion and eventual destruction of their industry. See airline, automobile, grocery, etc. industries.

Longshoremen make in the $100-200k per year range in these ports. That is the threat of this. The Unions want the government to protect their fertile turf. And let's ask ourselves as consumers--does this decrease prices or increase them for all of us? The answer is quite simple. So the wants of a few union members mean a less productive society and a stagnant economy. Welcome to Europe.

This whole thing is a Lou Dobbs special. That is all it is. And it demonstrates a major failing of the administration to do the appropriate PR work and respond to a PR crisis. Sure the Dems score points here, but in the end they will come out looking foolish. And the Repubs that are siding with them are doing so simply because the administration has not provided ample ammunition via the media to combat the leftist spin.

Posted by: Justin B at February 22, 2006 04:21 PM

I love these things. News and blog posts in bite-size bits appeal to me and my work day.

I also love Jeff Goldstein but I have to wait until I get home and can invest 10-15 minutes into reading.

One other thing missed in this whole ports issue is that it's a massive weak spot in US security - now and after whoever owns the name-plates to the docks.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at February 22, 2006 05:51 PM